A couple days ago, Delta announced a major change of their loyalty program, SkyMiles. Starting with January 1, 2015, redeemable miles are no longer awarded based on the flown distance. Instead, the paid rate determines the number of miles earned.
General members will earn 5 miles per dollar spent, while Silver Medallions will earn 7 miles, Gold Medallions 8 miles, Platinum Medallions 9 miles, and Diamond Medallions 11 miles per dollar. While taxes and government fees don’t count, miles are earned on base fare and carrier-imposed fees (like fuel surcharge).
When Delta made this major announcement the did not tell the whole story, only that the earning side will be revenue based. They also said that the award chart will have 5 tiers versus the current 3-tiered chart. Delta will also offer one-way awards at half the cost of roundtrips. Something their program was lacking for years. Finally, they are catching up with this! The new chart was to be published later this year, namely, in the last quarter of 2014.
Now, yesterday, they published the new chart though only for travel originating in the US. The chart itself didn’t change very much, except for the two new levels. Now, they are called Level 1 thru 5. The new Level 1 is essentially corresponds with the current Saver level, Level 3 is more or less the same as the current Standard level, and Level 5 is equivalent with the current Peak level. Levels 2 and 4 are simply intermediate levels.
The new chart contains 44 price changes of which about 95% are decreases. There are no increases for the lowest level (only 3 prices are decreasing slightly).
Well, I am glad that the required mileage for flying BusinessElite between Europe and the US did not change for the lowest redemption level. It still prices out at 125,000 miles for a round-trip. The Standard Award price gets reduced from 200,000 to 195,000 miles, and the outrageously high amount of miles needed for a Peak Award gets reduced from 325,000 to 295,000 miles.
Of course, the needed mileage for those two levels is way too high.
The two new levels require 160,000 miles and 250,000 miles. Well, I do hope that it will be possible to find award space at Level 1 in the future.